The Tongham-based Hogs Back Brewery welcomed 150 guests to the annual hop blessing at its brewery, this year adding a shortened version of the ancient ‘beating the bounds’ tradition to the event.

The hop blessing took place on Ascension Day, the day on which crop blessings traditionally took place for centuries. Officiating was Rev Claire Holt, of St Paul’s Church in Tongham, who blessed the crops and, with Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson, led the ‘beating the bounds’ walk around the 8.5-acre hop garden.

Rev Holt said: “Blessing the Hogs Back hop garden continues a tradition that would certainly have been part of the cycle of hop growing in Farnham for centuries. It gave me great joy to lead the prayers for the Hogs Back hop garden, the brewery, and all who work in them, for this year and long into the future.”

Mr Thompson said: “We were delighted to welcome Claire to bless our hops and to see so many people for our first ‘beating the bounds’.

“Guests enjoyed walking with friends, family and dogs round the hop garden, and working up a thirst for a pint of beer back at the brewery.

“There is a need to connect with the community and a large part of what we’re doing at Hogs Back is about creating those connections, which is shown by the many residents who are volunteering to ‘twiddle’ our hop plants up the strings, or helping to bring in the harvest later in the year.

“When we planted our first hop garden in 2014, we wanted to help revive hop farming in Farnham, and to brew in a more sustainable way. The hops travel just yards from the hop garden to the brewery, resulting in a miniscule carbon footprint for this part of the process.”